Since I own this series, I will be reading the official English translation. I have the omnibus volumes.
“One hundred and fifty years ago in Kyoto, amid the flames of revolution, there arose a warrior, an assassin of such ferocious power he was given the title Hitokiri: Manslayer. With his bloodstained blade, the Hitokiri Battousai helped close the turbulent Bakumatsu period and end the reign of the shouguns, slashing open the way toward the progressive Meiji Era.
Then he vanished, and with the flow of years became legend.
In the eleventh year of Meiji, in the middle of Tokyo, the tale begins. Himura Kenshin, a humble rurouni, or wandering swordsman, comes to the aid of Kamiya Kaoru, a young woman who is struggling to defend her father’s school of swordsmanship against attacks by the infamous Hitokiri Battousai. However, neither Kenshin nor Battousai are quite what they seem…”
I am going to be doing shorthand as I read. These descriptions are really more of a reminder to myself about what all I have been able to read so far. Sorry if this bothers anyone! I will do a full description on the final review page of each series I read.
Every post past this point will be a spoiler, so please read ahead with caution!
ch14: Kenshin hesitates, but it only takes a word from Jin-e for Kenshin to swing his sword. Kaoru yells for him to stop, surprising Kenshin and Jin-e; she’s broken the strengthened technique with her will for Kenshin to stay a rurouni. she was never even on Jin-e’s radar to be able to do that (but he also never knew she ran a dojo; he just saw a pretty girl in a kimono talking to Kenshin by the river; he underestimated her). Kenshin is saved, but Jin-e’s not down yet. Kenshin tells him to surrender, and Jin-e stabs himself through the chest; he can’t afford to be caught and interrogated by the police. he was hired by someone in the government and used the guise of a “crazy serial killer” to continue his work as a hitokiri. he says a hitokiri is a hitokiri until death. it gives Kenshin something to think about. Kenshin intends to suppress his hitokiri nature for the rest of his life. on the way back to the dojo, Kaoru thanks Kenshin for saving her life, and he thanks her for saving his. he tries to return her ribbon, but it’s all bloody now xD Sanosuke gives them crap for being out together all night xD
ch15: Kaoru likes the idea of having Kenshin on a leash xD Sanosuke takes Kenshin gambling! he wants Kenshin to cheer up -plus he’s using Kenshin’s abilities (how do those work? O.o) to predict the dice. gambling’s illegal, so Kenshin doesn’t want to do it, but it’s also illegal to carry a sword, so Kenshin agrees to stay. 1 of Sanosuke’s friends died recently from opium overdose -opium is also illegal. it’s also expensive, so Kenshin’s not sure how someone with normal income could buy enough to overdose from it. a lady runs into the room; she’s being chased by a couple guys. Sanosuke beats them up because he’s in a bad mood and he doesn’t like their attitude. they work for Takeda Kanryuu, a local “industrialist” who’s gained a lot of power recently. even the yakuza know not to mess with him. a 3rd guy appears and hurts two of Sanosuke’s friends before Kenshin and Sanosuke stop him. the lady wants them to help her escape Kanryuu, and it seems like she’s willing to pay in opium
ch16: the group returns to the dojo, and the lady (Megumi Takani) seems to have taken a liking to Kenshin. Sanosuke says they won Megumi to cover someone’s debts, and Kenshin reluctantly agrees to try and keep Kaoru uninvolved. more teasing happens, and Kaoru gets mad and kicks everyone out. Yahiko vanishes after this? O.o? Sanosuke wants answers from Megumi, but she’s being a pain and refusing to talk about herself. Sanosuke intends to stop the opium; he’s very serious about it. one of his friends shows up; the others have been checked out by the doctor, so they’re okay, but the 2 guys who attacked have shown up dead in the river. when our group arrives, they spot Kanryuu, the 3rd guy (Beshimi), and someone else. this guy isn’t part of the private army; he was hired after for even more security. he’s the okashira -aka the head/leader- of Edo castle’s oniwabanshuu -who were spies during the Edo period, now called onmitsu/ninja/shinobi. his name’s Aoshi Shinomori, and he became the okashira when he was 15, but he’s no longer the head (maybe because he works for Kanryuu now?). there’s a 4th person in the crowd named Han’nya, but we can’t see them. Kanryuu doesn’t give 2nd chances to his men; he kills those who fail. Aoshi is giving Beshimi a 2nd chance to get Megumi back. she’s the golden goose to Kanryuu
ch17: back at the dojo, Kenshin questions Megumi. she’ll answer questions about Kanryuu’s forces but nothing about herself. there’s 60 men in the private army and maybe 10 oniwabanshuu. Sanosuke’s sitting outside, and he keeps Kaoru from eavesdropping; she doesn’t like Kenshin being alone with Megumi xD also, Kenshin’s handwriting is apparently bad; Kaoru makes a joke that it’s as bad as the mangaka’s xD (I always like meta jokes like that xD) Kenshin tells Kaoru that something may happen at the dojo soon, but he’ll make sure she’s safe; she’s ok with it as long as he explains later. Megumi intends to run away during the fighting. Beshimi arrives with Hyottoko and Han’nya. Hyottoko breaks through the gate, and Sanosuke attacks first, but Hyottoko can breathe fire. he has a 9 liter bag of oil in his stomach and false teeth made of flint to start a spark. Sanosuke’s legs get burned, so Kenshin fights next, using the wind from his sword to repel the fire until the oil runs out. when Megumi tries to leave, Kaoru says the least she can do is stay since these men are fighting for her sake; Kaoru says that Kenshin won’t lose (it’s good to have that level of faith in your friends, but strategy wise, I can see why Megumi would intend to run, so I can’t fault her there. though running off too early is also a bad plan)
ch18: Hyottoko refuels (where’d that barrel come from?), and Sanosuke fights him again. he charges Hyottoko head on, through the fire, and rips the oil bag out of his stomach (omg, OW!), then knocks him out with a kick. Beshimi gets desperate and lets his anger get the better of him. he attacks Megumi with a spiral dart, but Yahiko jumps in the way, taking the hit in his arm. Kaoru scolds him, but he says he’s part of the team, so he deserves to at least be allowed to defend. but the dart was poisoned; Yahiko blacks out; he’ll die in an hour. Kenshin attacks Beshimi, but Han’nya uses a log substitution and grabs Beshimi
side note: Sanosuke, yelling at someone who’s poisoned to “snap out of it” is not an effective treatment
ch19: Han’nya wants to leave with his comrades, but Kenshin wants Beshimi to stay so they can get the antidote for Yahiko. they clash, but Han’nya uses martial arts to knock Kenshin back and escape. Megumi diagnoses the poison as jimsonweed and gives instructions -oral and written- for what everyone can do to help Yahiko; Kaoru’s tasked with getting the dojo’s doctor. thanks to these instructions, Yahiko should recover in 2-3 days. jimsonweed can be used for poison or medicine according to the doctor. the dojo’s doctor apparently knows some of Megumi’s history which he tells to Sanosuke and Kaoru at the same time that Megumi tells it to Kenshin. (this is going to be a lot…)
she’s from Aizu where doctors were prevalent. they treated everyone during the war which made the warlord in charge mad. Megumi’s father left Aizu for Nagasaki to study Western medicines -apparently leaving your prefecture back then was bad/hard to do, so the family had to be pardoned in order to return home later. after this, the Aizu War (4th great battle in the Boshin War) happened. The Imperial Army attacked Aizu to the point that even citizens had to fight, but on Sept 22, 1868, they had to surrender; they couldn’t defeat the Ishin Shishi/patriots/new Empire. since Aizu had supported the Shinsengumi/shougonate, they were discriminated against once the Meiji era started. Megumi’s father died in the battles, and her mother and 2 brothers went missing. 5 years ago, she became the assistant to a doctor that the dojo’s doctor knew. this doctor worked for Kanryuu, and he created a potent opium from fewer materials, making it very valuable. Kanryuu killed him while trying to get the recipe, so now only Megumi knows it. she’s made it for 3 years, believing in the beginning that she was making healing medicine. she lives with the guilt under the hope that someday she can be a real doctor again, save lives instead of taking them, and might even find her missing family members. Kenshin praises her for being so strong by keeping the guilt without caving to Kanryuu; she hasn’t told him the recipe. Kaoru invites Megumi to stay with them -as long as she keeps her hands off Kenshin xD
back at bad guy headquarters, Han’nya reports to Aoshi. Kenshin did injure him, so he’s on recon duty for 3 days to learn Kenshin’s secrets
ch20: Megumi’s a good cook, but Sanosuke won’t eat her cooking since it was her opium that killed his friend. Kenshin asks Megumi not to take it to heart; Sanosuke’s just frustrated since Kanryuu hasn’t made another move for a week, but being called “opium woman” really gets into Megumi’s head. random info: there’s a cannon that fires at noon every day, and a book lender who walks around with new books. the book lender this time is Han’nya in disguise. Kanryuu wants to speak -just speak- with Megumi, so she goes. in the forest, Kanryuu threatens the dojo if Megumi won’t return. the attack is tonight, so she must decide quickly. she writes a farewell letter, saying she’s returning to Aizu, then returns to Kanryuu. Kenshin doesn’t believe the letter; he intends to save Megumi. Yahiko volunteers to because she saved his life, and isn’t this what the Kamiya Kasshin-ryu is for? Sanosuke refuses to go, but Kenshin scolds him. frustrated, Sanosuke decides to go, but only so he can fight
ch21: at the mansion, Yahiko tells Sanosuke not to slow them down, and they fight xD while they break in, Megumi’s with Kanryuu. she intends to kill him then herself, but Aoshi takes her blade. Kanryuu beats her until she’s knocked out <=( in the mainhall, Kenshin and Sanosuke have taken out the swordsmen and yakuza, and now the gunmen appear. Kenshin defeats some, and Sanosuke throws Yahiko at the others. he steals the gun from 1 then pretends to shoot him, causing the gunman to faint in fear. the others are taken out by Kenshin and Sanosuke who tells Yahiko not to slow them down xD Yahiko’s already breathing hard from trying to keep up, but Kenshin and Sanosuke aren’t even phased. Kanryuu sees the devastation and is terrified/confused, but Aoshi’s excited. he recognizes Kenshin for his spirit/ideals from the revolution. Kenshin seems to be his target (maybe that’s why he agreed to work for Kanryuu?)
ch22: Kanryuu tries to bribe Kenshin to become his bodyguard for 200 men’s wages, but Kenshin doesn’t budge; either Kanryuu can bring Megumi down or Kenshin can come up to get her. Kanryuu asks for an hour -intending to torture then kill her-, and Kenshin cuts a steel/metal lamp with enough force to send it crashing into the wall (I think even Aoshi’s impressed xD ). he’ll give Kanryuu an hour (but why though?), but now Kanryuu’s too scared to harm her. the oniwabanshuu will guard her, and after an hour when Kenshin’s been defeated (lol), then Kanryuu can do whatever he wants with her. they did start working for Kanryuu in order to fight strong opponents; they only cooperate with him because they want to; they don’t let Kanryuu boss them around. when Megumi wakes up, Aoshi gives her her short sword back because he respects the struggle she’s had in life. but he doesn’t give her hope for being rescued. the sword is returned as a “mercy”; she’ll die in an hour, either by her own hand or by Kanryuu’s torture… back on the 1st floor, Kenshin and co’s 1st opponent is Han’nya
And that’s the end of the 1st omnibus! There’s a couple versions of the original pilot at the end. I’ll go ahead and write a review for those, but those will be posted after I finish with the main story (omg; that’s going to be awhile @.@; ). There’re also colored versions of each volume cover (an omnibus usually holds 3 volumes) after those stories. I really liked all the colored art in the omnibuses ❤
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